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TopDogSparky08

Just back from my first solo! Here's why I'm hooked

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This morning, I just disembarked my first solo cruise on RC's Anthem of the Seas. I'll have a friend likely going with me next year when Oasis comes up to NJ, and as much as I love my friend and can't wait to introduce her to cruising, I'm already wondering how soon I can book another solo cruise. So, here's what I like about it:

 

-First is the obvious: I do what I want when I want. The only person I have to compromise with is me. No pressure to do something I'm not into just because a friend or a sibling or my mother wants to. Vacation is all about me, and I kind of like being selfish at times.

 

-Unless you tell someone, no one really knows that you're alone. And with how big a lot of main market ships are getting, it's easy to blend in with the crowd and mind your own business.

 

-No forced socialization! I was open to meeting people, but I also didn't love the idea of sharing a table in the dining room just for the sake of making awkward small talk with people I may or may not click with. So I had my own table two of the three nights (the other was with a woman I met at a singles/solo event onboard) in the dining room. That said, I would say the majority of folks I talked to were pretty friendly. There were a few people who seemed like they didn't want me in their conversation, but so what? I was never going to see them again.

 

-Having my own room as an option. I'm fortunate that Anthem has some solo staterooms (that get booked up real fast from what I heard), but I liked not having a roommate. It goes back to my first point sort of. I could shower for as long as I wanted to, go to bed at the time I needed, watch TV without the worry of bothering someone else...the other solo traveler I met admitted she now struggles with the idea of having to share a room on a cruise. I tend to agree.

 

The only thing I need to work on is that I do still feel awkward doing some things alone. For example, the second formal night I sort of regretted not bringing any formal clothes to get all decked out. It was a little bummer to see all the families and couples getting fancy pics together, and I thought before my trip that I shouldn't take formal clothes because it would look silly to get a picture alone. Now I realize that likely no one else in line would notice or care because they would be too busy worrying about their appearance and pictures. I also felt strange eating at Jamie's by myself even though my waiter was no less attentive and friendly than he was to tables with groups of people. I'm not sure how many of you solos reading this go to specialty restaurants alone, but when I was first making reservations, I was nervous about how the staff would treat me and would I be seen as unusual. Of course, it's my vacation and if I want to try a specialty restaurant, I should do it. It is my vacation after all!

 

I'm going to write a review/recap in the RC forum if anyone wants to read it!

 

 

 

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So glad you loved cruising solo!! I’ve been solo traveling for 10 years, first cruise was this summer, and it really is difficult to travel with others for me now. I love my me travel time. You hit the nail on the head - do what you want when you want how you want. 
 

I ate at Solarium for dinner and was fine. I also had my journal with me. Sometimes it’s one of those things that takes getting used to. 

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TopDogSparkyO8,

 

Great brief review of you first solo cruise experience.  Your experience mirrors mine.  Regarding specialty restaurants as a solo diner, the more you do so, the more comfortable you will become.

 

The only Royal Caribbean vessel on which I have sailed was Nordic Prince which was many years ago.  Your report that many on Anthem of the Seas were formally dressed for dinner ought to encourage you to join them in such attire during a future cruise.  Cruising is a different lifestyle occasion for me as compared to my normal day to day life.  I enjoy dressing in my tux on formal nights during a cruise.  Dressing such as I dine on my homemade meat loaf and baked potato dinner at home?  😲  Why would I do that? 

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In his biography of the Roman general & politician Lucullus, Plutarch included a story about solo dining. Lucullus was famous as a foodie who held frequent banquets with lavish menus. One evening he chose to dine without guests. The story claims that a servant brought Lucullus a pretty basic dinner since he was a party of one. Lucullus, rather haughtily, admonished the servant that this was just as important a dinner as any other banquet: "What, did not you know that today Lucullus dines with Lucullus?"

 

That shaped my attitude toward solo dining. I confidently stride in for my dinner-for-one reservation, for I dine with myself tonight by choice and darn it, I deserve the good stuff.

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1 hour ago, coastcat said:

In his biography of the Roman general & politician Lucullus, Plutarch included a story about solo dining. Lucullus was famous as a foodie who held frequent banquets with lavish menus. One evening he chose to dine without guests. The story claims that a servant brought Lucullus a pretty basic dinner since he was a party of one. Lucullus, rather haughtily, admonished the servant that this was just as important a dinner as any other banquet: "What, did not you know that today Lucullus dines with Lucullus?"

 

That shaped my attitude toward solo dining. I confidently stride in for my dinner-for-one reservation, for I dine with myself tonight by choice and darn it, I deserve the good stuff.

That is a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

 

I hope next time I have grown in confidence enough to feel the same way about solo dining.

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To the Original Poster, so glad you enjoyed yourself:classic_biggrin:

 

I have been sailing solo since 2003 so 16 years.   And I have shared a cabin 3 different times in close to 60 cruises.

(for different reasons) but normally I don't ever share a cabin and don't intend to----being selfish is just fine as I also

love having the space to myself. I have lived almost my entire life on my own so sharing a cabin holds absolutely

0% interest for me.

 

As for dinner, I have dined specialty many times over the years. You live and learn. Good wait staff will not care

if you are on your own. As for dressing up? I don't own what would be considered true "formal wear" but I do enjoy

looking nice---dressy slacks and pretty tops, with nice jewelry and I feel good.

 

Anyway, great that you had such a positive experience!:classic_smile:

 

 

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Congratulations on completing your first solo.  Glad you had a good time.  Those of us who have been traveling solo for years will tell you that it just keeps getting better and better each trip, so hope you continue to enjoy your travels.  The more you do, the easier it is to just feel right at home once you are aboard and not really care what others might think.  After all, that is their problem, not yours, so just relax and enjoy.

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22 hours ago, coastcat said:

That shaped my attitude toward solo dining. I confidently stride in for my dinner-for-one reservation, for I dine with myself tonight by choice and darn it, I deserve the good stuff.

 

Absolutely!

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Welcome to the world of solo cruising. Glad to hear that you had a great time.

 

I, too, enjoy dining in the specialty restaurants and have always been treated well on the various Princess ships I've cruised on. The only "problem" I encountered at the specialty restaurants was having to get the wait staff to mention to the kitchen that I was a single diner and thus they could feel free to reduce the size of the side dishes to something little more suitable for one. Otherwise, they were sending out mounds of mashed potatoes and asparagus and grilled mushrooms.

 

 

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On 11/11/2019 at 4:38 PM, Croptop said:

The only "problem" I encountered at the specialty restaurants was having to get the wait staff to mention to the kitchen that I was a single diner and thus they could feel free to reduce the size of the side dishes to something little more suitable for one. Otherwise, they were sending out mounds of mashed potatoes and asparagus and grilled mushrooms.

 

As a solo dinner in specialty restaurants, your comment is one of the most helpful I have read on CC for solo cruisers.  I never thought about asking my Steward to do so!  I don't like to waste food and always feel guilty when I leave the table with so much of the side dishes not consumed.  Thank you for your post.  

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@TopDogSparky08 Welcome to the world of solo cruising!

 

IMO, NCL has a GREAT solo program on the Breakaway/Breakaway+ class ships (Breakaway, Getaway, Bliss, Encore and possibly one more I'm forgetting but the Joy does NOT have the cabins and lounge).  There is a Studio cabin "complex" with the Studio lounge, only accessible to passengers in that complex except at the time of the solo gathering.  You aren't forced to participate in the gathering, dinners or organized activities.  The solo host will try to arrange times for the group to go to the main shows so you have someone to sit with if you want and will arrange for the group to have a table in one of the MDR's.  Again - you are not forced to socialize with them but they are, literally, in the same boat as you sailing on their own.  This does kind of solve the "issue" of either dining alone or with people that don't really want you there but you were sat with them by the maitre'd.

 

I did a cruise in that setup on the Bliss in April.  On the first night I went to dinner with a group of them at one of the specialty restaurants and ended up having dinner with them twice more.

 

For what it's worth - that was my first true solo cruise but I did sail in a Studio on Anthem in 2018.  In some ways RCI's cabin was better, in others NCL's was.

 

You note that you've heard the solo cabins on Anthem fill fast (they do, if the travel agents know about them), the Bliss has 86 solo rooms compared to maybe 18 on Anthem.  That's how much NCL embraces solo travelers.  Don't misunderstand my post - Anthem is a really nice ship.

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17 hours ago, hallux said: Welcome to the world of solo cruising!

IMO, NCL has a GREAT solo program on the Breakaway/Breakaway+ class ships (Breakaway, Getaway, Bliss, Encore and possibly one more I'm forgetting but the Joy does NOT have the cabins and lounge).  


Escape is the other BA+ ship with Studios. NCL Epic does as well. I had a Studio on Bliss and really enjoyed it! Having the private Lounge was handy for refilling water bottles or making a late night cookie run. I only attended one group dinner but did spend some time in the Studio Lounge just chatting with people & warming up with a (free) latte before heading back to the chilly Waterfront. Joy doesn’t have this feature but there will be Solo meets before dinner. 
 

I’ve been looking at HA for an Alaska cruise but there’s no easy way to find sailings with reduced solo supplements. Celebrity and NCL make it easier. 

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4 minutes ago, coastcat said:

I’ve been looking at HA for an Alaska cruise but there’s no easy way to find sailings with reduced solo supplements. Celebrity and NCL make it easier. 

I just did RCL to Alaska solo and really enjoyed the solo cabins. It was a great trip and I liked the space as they have the virtual balcony so I knew what was happening outside at all times.

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I’m about to do my 8th and 9th solo cruises next week and I absolutely cannot wait.

 

From my first solo cruise in 2010, I just can’t stop. I love the freedom and independence it provides. I can do what I want when I want and I don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone. I will cruise with people but I will always request to have my own cabin.

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On 11/14/2019 at 9:36 PM, Virtopia said:

I’m about to do my 8th and 9th solo cruises next week and I absolutely cannot wait.

 

From my first solo cruise in 2010, I just can’t stop. I love the freedom and independence it provides. I can do what I want when I want and I don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone. I will cruise with people but I will always request to have my own cabin.

I love your self confidence!  😁

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On 11/9/2019 at 11:59 AM, TopDogSparky08 said:

This morning, I just disembarked my first solo cruise on RC's Anthem of the Seas. I'll have a friend likely going with me next year when Oasis comes up to NJ, and as much as I love my friend and can't wait to introduce her to cruising, I'm already wondering how soon I can book another solo cruise. So, here's what I like about it:

 

-First is the obvious: I do what I want when I want. The only person I have to compromise with is me. No pressure to do something I'm not into just because a friend or a sibling or my mother wants to. Vacation is all about me, and I kind of like being selfish at times.

 

-Unless you tell someone, no one really knows that you're alone. And with how big a lot of main market ships are getting, it's easy to blend in with the crowd and mind your own business.

 

-No forced socialization! I was open to meeting people, but I also didn't love the idea of sharing a table in the dining room just for the sake of making awkward small talk with people I may or may not click with. So I had my own table two of the three nights (the other was with a woman I met at a singles/solo event onboard) in the dining room. That said, I would say the majority of folks I talked to were pretty friendly. There were a few people who seemed like they didn't want me in their conversation, but so what? I was never going to see them again.

 

-Having my own room as an option. I'm fortunate that Anthem has some solo staterooms (that get booked up real fast from what I heard), but I liked not having a roommate. It goes back to my first point sort of. I could shower for as long as I wanted to, go to bed at the time I needed, watch TV without the worry of bothering someone else...the other solo traveler I met admitted she now struggles with the idea of having to share a room on a cruise. I tend to agree.

 

The only thing I need to work on is that I do still feel awkward doing some things alone. For example, the second formal night I sort of regretted not bringing any formal clothes to get all decked out. It was a little bummer to see all the families and couples getting fancy pics together, and I thought before my trip that I shouldn't take formal clothes because it would look silly to get a picture alone. Now I realize that likely no one else in line would notice or care because they would be too busy worrying about their appearance and pictures. I also felt strange eating at Jamie's by myself even though my waiter was no less attentive and friendly than he was to tables with groups of people. I'm not sure how many of you solos reading this go to specialty restaurants alone, but when I was first making reservations, I was nervous about how the staff would treat me and would I be seen as unusual. Of course, it's my vacation and if I want to try a specialty restaurant, I should do it. It is my vacation after all!

 

I'm going to write a review/recap in the RC forum if anyone wants to read it!

 

 

 

Good for you, I’m considering going on one the only difference is I won’t alone would be with relative but having my own cabin 

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I travel solo. I always eat at the specialty restaurant on formal night. Tux. I am always treated very well. After the first dining, I always have the same table and the maître d'  will hold it for me. I tell him, that if I am not at the door when you open, I will not be there that night.

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This is so encouraging as I'm taking my first solo cruise in February on Princess.  I became a widow early this year and cruised often with my husband.  After months of grieving, I realized I don't want to give up nice vacations and the ocean is my happy place.  I was a little hesitant to book, but now I'm looking forward to it.  In fact, someone was trying to arrange to come with me, but it fell through and I'm a little relieved!  The down side is having to pay for 2 but I got a pretty good deal.  It wasn't until after I booked that I realized I'll be on the ship over Valentine's Day...not the best timing on my part, but it will be fine.  Thanks for the tips on this thread.

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On 11/30/2019 at 2:39 PM, Tropical Fish Biz said:

This is so encouraging as I'm taking my first solo cruise in February on Princess.  I became a widow early this year and cruised often with my husband.  After months of grieving, I realized I don't want to give up nice vacations and the ocean is my happy place.  I was a little hesitant to book, but now I'm looking forward to it.  In fact, someone was trying to arrange to come with me, but it fell through and I'm a little relieved!  The down side is having to pay for 2 but I got a pretty good deal.  It wasn't until after I booked that I realized I'll be on the ship over Valentine's Day...not the best timing on my part, but it will be fine.  Thanks for the tips on this thread.

Have a wonderful time on your cruise

😊

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She Who Must Be Obeyed sometimes chooses not to go on a particular cruise, so I have cruised solo several times.  I love it, but try not to gush about it when I tell SWMBO about the cruise.

 

I like the independence of not traveling by "committee".  What do you want to do?  I dunno, what do you want to do?

 

I like eating when and where I want, and if all I want is a drink and a few  hors d'oeuvres as a dinner, there's no discussion or negotiating.

 

I like staying on the ship on port days instead of another group ABC tour (another blasted castle, another blessed cathedral) because SWMBO doesn't want to miss anything.

 

I like avoiding the over-amplified production shows without another negotitation.

 

One can be alone, but not lonely if you are not afraid to strike up a conversation.  

 

 

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On 12/14/2019 at 6:40 AM, SargassoPirate said:

She Who Must Be Obeyed sometimes chooses not to go on a particular cruise, so I have cruised solo several times.  I love it, but try not to gush about it when I tell SWMBO about the cruise.

 

I like the independence of not traveling by "committee".  What do you want to do?  I dunno, what do you want to do?

 

I totally agree with you, although in my case, the roadblocks would be caused by They Who Cannot Decide.  My friends are great guys, but decisiveness is not their strong suit.  I had multiple situations where our group outings got filibustered by indecision.  We spent a lot of time sitting around or driving aimlessly, figuring out what to do or where to go, and we'd end up doing nothing, or just getting food at most.  

 

So I kind of knew they'd be incompatible cruise buddies, and would clash with my gung-ho "see it, decide it, do it!" mindset.  A cruise provides a perfect balance between structure and choice.  Highlights of the day, like excursions, dinners, and shows are scheduled for you, but the rest is for you to pick and choose; you just have to decide.  So all my cruises thus far have been solo.  I'm not writing off cruising with someone down the road, but that person would need to be as decisive as  I am.

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4 minutes ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

 

I totally agree with you, although in my case, the roadblocks would be caused by They Who Cannot Decide.  My friends are great guys, but decisiveness is not their strong suit.  I had multiple situations where our group outings got filibustered by indecision.  We spent a lot of time sitting around or driving aimlessly, figuring out what to do or where to go, and we'd end up doing nothing, or just getting food at most.  

 

So I kind of knew they'd be incompatible cruise buddies, and would clash with my gung-ho "see it, decide it, do it!" mindset.  A cruise provides a perfect balance between structure and choice.  Highlights of the day, like excursions, dinners, and shows are scheduled for you, but the rest is for you to pick and choose; you just have to decide.  So all my cruises thus far have been solo.  I'm not writing off cruising with someone down the road, but that person would need to be as decisive as  I am.

👌👍

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Reading this thread has helped my self assurance somewhat.  My husband passed away 08/19 and we always took two or three cruises each year.  Watching the sea go by is where I get my peace and tranquility.  I've been thinking about a solo cruise, but the idea of being by myself scares the daylights out of me.  I made all of the travel arrangements and Jack took care of everything else.  I didn't realize until he was gone how much I depended on him.  

Let me ask a question.  How do find special pricing, if there is any, for solo cruisers?

Thanks to all of you for helping to boost my self confidence.

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45 minutes ago, lakemurraykid said:

Reading this thread has helped my self assurance somewhat.  My husband passed away 08/19 and we always took two or three cruises each year.  Watching the sea go by is where I get my peace and tranquility.  I've been thinking about a solo cruise, but the idea of being by myself scares the daylights out of me.  I made all of the travel arrangements and Jack took care of everything else.  I didn't realize until he was gone how much I depended on him.  

Let me ask a question.  How do find special pricing, if there is any, for solo cruisers?

Thanks to all of you for helping to boost my self confidence.

Good for you that you’re getting out there 👍 it’s not good to depend so much on mates we have to be self efficient and know what’s going on. Check different sites it depends on where your looking to go. Cabins are based on double occupancy so you’ll have to pay double even if it’s just for a solo traveler.

happy travels 😊

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59 minutes ago, lakemurraykid said:

Reading this thread has helped my self assurance somewhat.  My husband passed away 08/19 and we always took two or three cruises each year.  Watching the sea go by is where I get my peace and tranquility.  I've been thinking about a solo cruise, but the idea of being by myself scares the daylights out of me.  I made all of the travel arrangements and Jack took care of everything else.  I didn't realize until he was gone how much I depended on him.  

Let me ask a question.  How do find special pricing, if there is any, for solo cruisers?

Thanks to all of you for helping to boost my self confidence.

Special pricing for solo cruisers is tricky. Some lines have studio cabins for 1 person where you can get a pretty decent deal, but they don't have a lot of cabins and go quickly. Other times there is solo discount pricing or a buy 1 get 60% off second which would apply to you as well. It's a lot of searching to see what you like but if you already have a cruise line you have earned loyalty/points that will still count for you as a solo (obviously depending on the fine print with the line).

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